Teresa of Gundowerks creates everything from jewelry to beads to home decor, and so much more! She was kind enough to answer a few questions about how she got started in polymer clay and what inspires her work.
With all the mediums available for crafting why did you choose Polymer clay?
The versatility and the learning curve. With PC you can get your first package of clay and after a bit of fiddling create something you like. With more study, more experimentation, more trial-and-error you can create more and more amazing and beautiful pieces of art. With clay the sky's the limit, there is always something new to do and learn. You can create so many things – you can faux all kinds of different things from nature to ancient pottery and metalworking. You can make your own colors, you can add different media – clay can help you create the visions in your head. It's amazing stuff.
How did you learn to use polymer clay? Internet, experimenting, books, classes.....
Trial and error! My first book was Nan Roche's “The New Clay” and at first all I could do was just try to mimic what I saw. In the late 90's I found Delphi Forums and Polymer Clay Central and a tremendous amount of my knowledge came from my friends there. Then in the 2000's there were books and magazines that began to hit the market, making new techniques and ideas far more accessible.
What is your favorite tool to work with?
I love too many tools to choose one! Molds are amazing, scalpels are vital, the pasta machine is indispensable. I love my heat gun with a passion and I am never without a clay extruder.
Do you like to work with any mediums other than polymer clay?
Paint, markers, fabric, beads, paper – I love to do mixed media work.
What is your favorite polymer clay technique and why?
Faux Mokume Gane. It is magical, the effects are stunning, and you never come up with the same piece twice. You can use it for everything from covering boxes to molding items.
What is your least favorite technique and why?
Representational caning. I hate the waste primarily, I also don't like the risks of reducing, and color bleed, and all those other things that can leave you with pounds of mud. Just not my thing, but boy do I respect the people who do it well!!
What is on your "to do" or "to learn" list?
I would like to learn a bit of sculpting, just faces for cabs and such. It's way down on my list, but it's on there. Other than that it's primarily just learning and growing with what I'm already doing.
Do you mix your own colors? Why or why not?
I do at times. Not according to anyone's formulas usually. I'll just mix a tiny bit at a time for something I need at the moment. I'd really rather not reproduce anything exactly – that's why I make things like MG in tiny quantities, and another reason I eschew representational caning.
How do you keep your designs fresh and original?
Small quantities. I don't do anything on production scale, I'll work on a few things at once and then move on. If I make MG (as I said above) it's in tiny quantities because I don't like having a huge chunk of something that makes tons of “look alikes”. The same with mixed colors, I just don't like to have a lot of anything hanging around.
What keeps you from getting into a creative rut?
A short attention span! Well, a forced short attention span... I have a seven year old, two hounds, four cats, a husband and a big house. I don't get to sit in my studio a lot, and when I do it's not for a long time. I'm jumping back and forth a lot and that helps keep me from getting in a rut.
What is your favorite brand of clay if you have one and why?
Premo (the old formula) has always been my favorite. I still have a lot of old clay, but after I run through it I'm going to need to re-evaluate clay brands. I also am crazy about Fimo Trans, I love the glowing milk-white color I achieve with it in my MG.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I am crazy about polymer clay! I'm always thrilled to be in contact with other PC artists, I love to learn and grow and teach in this community.
Here is a link to one of my favorite items: http://www.artfire.c...ct_view/1057181
You can find Gundowerks online on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog, as well as her ArtFire shop. And right now she's offering free shipping on all her items through October 31st, so hurry in and do a little early Christmas shopping!
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